Houston's growing Hindu community
July 10th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

In Texas, young Hindus want to Americanize ancient faith

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Houston, Texas (CNN) - In many ways, 29-year-old Rishi Bhutada is a traditional Hindu, not so different from his Indian-born parents.

An officer at his dad’s pipefitting company, Texas-born Bhutada had an arranged marriage in India three years ago and then brought his wife back to his hometown, where they recently welcomed a son.

Bhutada is a strict vegetarian and avoids alcohol, as do many observant Hindus.

Complete coverage: Defining America

And the dashboard of his Toyota Prius is adorned with a small metal statue of Ganesh, an elephant-headed Hindu god known as the remover of obstacles. Bhutada prays to it each morning before leaving his driveway.

And yet Bhutada is a different kind of Hindu than his mom and dad.

His parents were part of a major wave of Indians who arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s and ’70s and focused their religious lives on building a community of believers and temples around Houston, which was then a Hindu wilderness.

Bhutada, by contrast, wants his religion to step out from that now-well-established Hindu hive to engage the broader culture.

Surprising origins of "Don't Mess with Texas"

Driving to lunch recently at a strip mall Indian buffet, he spoke of trying to forge a distinctly American Hindu identity that’s more tightly woven into the national fabric.

“The immigrant generation is focused on India, on the home country,” he said, noting that the TV in his parents’ house is often turned to a Hindi-language channel beamed in from the subcontinent. “I’m focused on the United States, which is my home country.”

That helps explain why a national group he’s involved with, the Hindu American Foundation, recently launched a Take Back Yoga campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the practice’s Hindu roots and values among non-Hindus.

And it's why Bhutada testified at the Capitol in Austin last year against a statewide school curriculum that calls Hinduism a polytheistic religion, a characterization many Hindus reject.

And it's why one area temple has begun placing copies of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, in thousands of Texas hotel rooms, right next to the Gideon Bible.

The developments speak to a new, publicly assertive stance that’s shared by many first-generation American Hindus across Houston, home to one of the country’s largest and fastest growing Indian enclaves, and by many young Hindus across the nation.

“Our parents had to build everything from scratch to make a united Hindu community in this country,” said Tejas N. Dave, 17, a high school junior who volunteers with a project bringing yoga to unprivileged Americans.

“Now we’re trying to reintegrate it back into society,” he said, “to make people realize that Hinduism is a religion and a way of life and a philosophy that’s not too different from what a lot of others believe. We’re all trying to make a better society.”

Some young Hindus are envious of the attention that American Muslims and Mormons have received in recent years – even if not all of the attention has been positive – and are trying to raise Hinduism’s national profile.

The impulse is not about winning converts. Hinduism, the world’s third-largest religion, doesn’t proselytize.

Rather, many young Hindus say, it’s about making their faith less exotic to others while making it more meaningful to their own modern American lives.

When their parents arrived from India a few decades ago, it was hard enough just being Hindu.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which overhauled the U.S. immigration system by eliminating biases toward European immigrants, among other things, opened American doors to millions of Asian immigrants, including Indians.

Those first arrivals struggled to recreate ethnic and religious networks from back home. When Bhutada’s father, Ramesh Bhutada, arrived in the U.S. in 1968, Houston played host to a single Hindu temple, which had opened earlier that year.

It was a stark change from India, where Hindus can stop into seemingly ubiquitous temples every day for brief visits, helping explain why so many Indians say “Hinduism is a way of life.”

There were more prosaic struggles, too. Many Hindus believe that vegetarianism denotes religious purity and a commitment to nonviolence, but they struggled to maintain that tradition in what was then a very meat-centric American diet.

“There was not even anything like a vegetable burger in those days,” Ramesh Bhutada said.

In those early years, new Hindu arrivals turned their homes into makeshift temples, holding religious education classes for their American-born children.

“There would be kids’ activities in one bedroom and adults in another,” said Dhruval Amin, 28, a Houston-based project manager at an international consulting firm, recalling childhood visits to such homes.

Today, Amin worships at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a sprawling, snow-white temple carved from Italian marble and Turkish limestone that sits on 22 manicured acres in Stafford, just south of Houston.

Opened in 2004, the temple is a proud symbol of the local Hindu community’s growth and prosperity, though it’s a story that’s hardly confined to Houston.

The U.S. Census does not track the number of Hindu Americans; the Census doesn’t ask about religion, period. But data from the 2010 Census show that Texas’ Asian Indian population nearly doubled in size in the past decade, to around 250,000.

Now, for the first time, Indians represent the largest Asian community in the state. Many were drawn by lucrative jobs in Texas’s booming oil, technology and medical sectors.

“A lot of the doctors in small metro markets across Texas are first- or second-generation Indians,” said Ray Perryman, who heads an economic research firm in Waco, Texas. “And the top two or three students in every high school tend to be from some part of Asia.”

Similar trends have emerged in other parts of the country. Nationally, Indian growth has surged by 60% in the past 10 years, according to the Census, with 2.8 million Asian Indians living in the U.S. today.

Indians now represent the country’s second-largest Asian group, after the Chinese.

They’re also among the nation’s most successful ethnic groups, with 71% of Asian Indians earning bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with 28% of all Americans, according to data from the U.S. Census’s 2009 American Community Survey.

The survey reported that Asian Indians have median household incomes of more than $90,000, compared with $50,000 for all Americans.

Not everyone from that community is Hindu. India’s Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Jain minorities are also represented in the United States.

At a recent yoga class at Houston’s India House, a community center, the instructor was Hindu, and most participants were Indian, but half were Catholic, Methodist or another kind of Christian.

When the instructor, Sarika Phalak, leads open and closing prayers that reference God, she invites participants to speak the name of their own deity. Many say “Jesus.”

Still, Hindu growth around Houston has exploded in recent years, with 19 temples now scattered across the sprawling metropolitan area, most built just in the past decade.

Temple-based Hindu youth camps long ago replaced home-based classes. And several national Hindu organizations now call Houston home.

The city’s Hindu onslaught put Charu Krishna Thammavaram, 28, in closer touch with her religion when she relocated from Lafayette, Louisiana, three years ago.

“I feel like a born-again Hindu now,” said Thammavaram, who works for an India-focused humanitarian group called Ekal Vidyalaya, which is headquartered in Houston.

In Louisiana, the lone “nearby” temple was an hour’s drive from Thammavaram’s home. Here, she had her choice of temples and settled on a Hare Krishna temple after shopping around, just as many Americans of other faiths do.

For many young Hindus, tweaking their religious heritage to make it more relevant has become an important project.

“My parents were just immersed in Hinduism, starting every day with prayer and accepting it without question,” said Kavita Pallod, a native Houstonian and first-generation American who recently graduated college. “But I don’t start my days with prayer. And Hinduism is something I’ve questioned and debated with friends.”

Yet Pallod, 23, has spent a good deal of time thinking about how to apply her faith to her life. “I believe that karma is the principal that guides the universe,” she said, referring to the Hindu concept of cosmic justice. “It’s one of the reasons I joined Teach for America.”

Pallod, who’s training for the teaching program this summer, was speaking at Star Pipe Products, the pipefitting distributor where Rishi Bhutada works and that his father, Ramesh, founded in 1982.

Situated at the end of a bland industrial drive on the city’s west end, the company doubles as a meeting place for local Hindus.

Among its warren of warehouse and offices spaces is a community center where a mural of Swami Vivekananda, a famous 19th-century spiritual leader who introduced the faith to the United States, fills the back wall.

But like the younger Bhutada, Pallod is intent on taking her religion outside officially Hindu spaces. As the president of the Hindus Student Association at the University of Texas at Austin until her graduation in May, she focused on introducing Hinduism to non-Hindu students.

Last spring, her group went all out to get non-Hindus to participate in Holi, a Hindu festival that involves throwing colored powder and water – often at other people – in a playful, rainbow-like spectacle.

“We wanted them to actually experience it themselves as opposed to just sitting there passively,” Pallod said of the event. “We wanted to teach that the colors are all about eliminating differences by making everyone look the same.”

The festival drew about 2,000 people, with many enthusiastically throwing colored powder at one another in the shadow the state Capitol. It was the kind of scene that Indian immigrant parents could have never imagined.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Content Partner • Hinduism • Interfaith issues • Texas

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. Billy

    Muslims simply cannot take anyone seriously who worships a blue monkey. Let alone a deity with four arms.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Gan

      You do realize that it's a abstract way of expressing god....

      July 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • karthiq

      The holy scriptures of hindus–upanishads,vedas are more enlightening and spiritual than koran.

      And idols are nothing but statues of various dieties hindus worship.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  2. JimJones

    This is a pagan religion, that id totally different to christians, jews and islam. They use Idols as their gods and they have many of them

    July 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • karthiq

      Its not stones, its statues of gods, just like statues of jesus in your churches.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Rahul Doshi


      You mean different than what your perspective of the world is/should be? Isn't that supposed to be the nature of the world?

      July 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  3. VegIsMurder

    Vegetarianism is non-violent? Think of all the murdered veggies.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Gan

      Bwahhh...lol...good one

      July 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Tina

      You are welcome to make your body living graves of murdered animals but how do you expect any ideal conditions on earth?
      Plants dont have nervous system..they are unlikely to have any pain or discomfort but kill a bull grown pig for you need is plain ruthless and cruel.. Go Veg !!

      July 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Arjun

      True. That is also killing. One can not stay here without killing. Vedas says "Jivo Jivasya dharanam". Everyone has to live because of other living beings. Hindu principle is that just live with minimum you need. Dont do unnecessary killing just minimal. Some find vegetarian involves least pain. But pain is there. Not all the sages of Hinduism are vegetarians, this is misconception. But vegetarian is better for spiritual growth. But eating nonveg is not permitted for brahmins only.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  4. in Kansas

    Only in America! Viva la Difference!!!
    As I recall, the reason that the Pilgrims came to America was for religious freedom.
    To all the good Christians who are against Hinduism inthe US, I have to ask; "what's your problem"?

    July 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • richunix

      Check your history, they did not come to the America's for religious freedoms, but to practice religious-intolerance...and they did with a vengeance.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Ram

    Sorry you can't convert yourself to Hinduism, you have to be born a hindu. Plus sorry you're in the wrong cast system you can't go to heven or do any jobs a upper cast can. You'll have to be born into a higher cast system. Hinduism means extreme segregation. Sux i'm a dalit.

    July 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • KS

      Dude, SERIOUSLY??? Thats what you think??? With all that reservation quota in schools, colleges and government job???

      P.S: I am a Dalit too, but I haven't got anything to complain about!!!

      July 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Ramsekhar


      No policy is executed perfectly. Any loop hole will be taken advantage of by the average human being. Upper castes do it and dalits do it too. Simply put, most people would take advantage, given an opportunity.

      Gotta look deeper dude. You have obviously done some reading but not enough still. If you look through a clear lens, you will see it. It's not an easy job though, which is why it takes a few generations for communities to get assimilated into the mainstream.

      If it gives you any picture, 95% of my classmates while I was in school were Scheduled-Tribes. All I would say is, 'create opportunities for yourself, don't whine.'

      July 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  6. lavakava

    i love christianity (middleeastern religion) but hate the racist white trash who thinks they are christians when they don't know anything about it and only commit drugs, por n and racism. i'm hindu by the way and my best friend is a malayalee christian. real christianity is very nice like hinduism, not like what these scu m racist kkk made it out.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • James

      Maybe you should leave the US and go back to india. So please do not come here and show off. You are just another of those turd world people who only come here for the benefits. Good riddance lavakava. Take you million hindu Gods with you.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • raj

      Ok so what is Hinduism then ???? would you please kindly define what you believe?? please if you really know your roots and the fact then please bear the pain to explain hinduism. Dont start with killing baby girls, widow burnt, dowry....or dont say that even in todays India...In Orissa a dalit was beaten to enter temple,,, so is this hinduism,,,if you say racisim then what is that in iINdia..killig and beating so called lower caste people...becuz they enter temple...wow is this Indian greatness or Hinduism...or its Racism gifted by god in India

      July 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • lavakava

      james you are not a christian, you are a european por n loving animal. go back to your 'turd' world full of filth y por n of people eating butts etc. change your name to something like 'vikings'.

      not all white ppl are like that. i have many white friends. but i hate your type and i spit on your bird-turd looking face.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • KS

      @lavakava: Dude, with all the mud slinging, you are only putting your fellow Indians to shame!!!

      @James: "Bro", you are not helping either. If you want to be taken seriously, at least learn to spell correctly!!! And, yes we come here for "The Benefits" just like the British came to India for "The Benefits"!!! But, we also come here because some Americans like you can't even spell properly!!!

      July 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  7. lavakava

    don't listen to 'james'. james is an aramaic (ancient arabic) name. this idiot doesn't realize it lol. first get your family right. instead of having multiple se x partners and broken homes and drugs like in your culture lol.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • richunix

      Lets hope he can't breed and maybe his type will die out

      July 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  8. Indian

    See that's a big part of what we have been for the last 500 year.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Indian

      Last 5000 Years

      July 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Ram

      Sorry you can't convert yourself to Hinduism, you have to be born a hindu. Plus sorry you're in the wrong cast system you can't go to heven or do any jobs a upper cast can. You'll have to be born into a higher cast system. Hinduism means extreme segregation.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Arjun

      I agree with you that there has been lot of exploitation on the name of caste. But caste is not really part of Hinduism. But it talks about 4 varnas (class) which are related to work. What we call caste (Kula) originally means family linage. So these things come about because of people doing the same work as father and there are social prejudices associated. It is always money that plays role and some are respected and some or not.

      But atleast no where it denied spiritual benefits for lower class. Dont think there are classes of people now. Some are ruling and some are being ruled. Some are poor and some are rich. But you have the chance to improve your situation now, though it needs your hard work. On the other hand long before it was same case in Hinduism. There were many sages who are from lower castes like Vyasa, Valmiki who are most famous. But slowly people were less educated in scriptures and Brahmins exploited them.

      But there are many preachers who preached against this in middle ages. But the caste prejudices are very strong and takes some more time for us to be free from that.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  9. raj

    Let all not forget that Hindu is not a religion, I mean can one define Hindu Correctly??? I think if believing crores of different god is Hinduism, then I must say christians and muslims in India are also "HIndu". As I think people across the Indus river were then termed as Hindus...

    July 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Indian

      Let all not forget that Hindu is not a religion, I mean can one define Hindu Correctly???

      I think if believing crores of different god is Hinduism, then I must say christians and muslims in India are also "HIndu".

      As I think people across the Indus river were then termed as Hindus...

      July 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  10. raj

    I see that Hindus enjoy a great secure and happy religious life in US. But I believe the more Hindus get stronger and have various temples built, the more they get money to send India to sponsor all devastating and viloent activities against mionrities and eg are Orissa,Gujarat and Punjab

    July 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Desi

      Yup, and get rid of extremist muslims. Research shows Gujarati Muslims are richer, happier and enjoy freedom in Gujarat then rest of India and Pakistan and MANY other Islamic country. Get it you moron?

      July 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Gan

      I'm not supporting violence, and don't fund the RSS or anything, but millions of dollars are put into India by Chrisitans to convert people illegal, by bribes, and lies. Both of those are wrong.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Indian

      I Challenge you if you can name one country where Muslims (men+women) enjoy more religious, cultural and political freedom than in India. Be honest and base your argument on facts.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  11. lavakava

    christianity in its authentic form is a mideastern religion, not a western religion. so why do americans think hinduism is any harder to adapt?

    July 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • richunix

      Sadly, Religion has become intolerant and more so over time. Though I do not believe in any mythical deities, I do however enjoy the good that ALL religions bring to humankind. It is the people that are trying to help on another in that we are greater as a whole than being a individual. Until we realize WE ALL live on this planet and WE all are responsible to each other…then maybe we will have the peace that so many are trying to archive.

      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      Atheism is not a religion nor is it a belief.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  12. lavakava

    hindus follow the bible more than christians. they have far less divorce, adultery, women dressing like hoes, etc. jesus would accept gandhi anyday over a catholic child moles ter. sorry but its the truth.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • raj

      I think, it would be tough to accept the part as Hindu, when people back in 18th and early 19th in India, would kill the new born baby girl, and widow would die on her husband's death, burnt alive. And still in modern India women are burnt and killed for dowry.I think this is also part of Hinduism? or so called culture?? We tend to look odds of other but we literallly avoid to see what we are!!!1

      July 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Ram

      Sorry you can't convert yourself to Hinduism, you have to be born a hindu. Plus sorry you're in the wrong cast system you can't go to heven or do any jobs a upper cast can. You'll have to be born into a higher cast system. Hinduism means extreme segregation.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  13. alex

    I hear where this guy is coming from but at the end of the day it is hard to americanize the hindu religion. It is an Indian nationalistic religion, which is why as he said everything is so focused on india. The religion is woven so much into the Indian cultural image that they pass laws in India preventing people from converting to other religions, in fear that they will lose india to outside influences. To convert could either mean death, in the more conservative provinces or persecution in the other provinces.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • lavakava

      lol typical xenophobia just like the romans had when they killed early christians from the mideast (feeding to lions etc). grow up kid. if you don't like mideastern or eastern influence, go back to your european barbarianism and paganism aka greek and roman myths.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • JimJones

      I agree, many people talk about muslims ill treating women, well in India Hindus burn and kill their young girls b/c of the doori. Their women must always walk behind the man.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • RS

      Where in the world did you get THAT from? We're talking about India, a secular democracy, the largest in the world. We are not talking about some theocratic Middle-Eastern country. Get your facts straight.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • PJ

      To all who think Hindus are ultra-orthodox or conservative or non secular:
      Hindus don't punish people for converting – that's why India is a haven for Christian missionaries.
      It is the only religion that discourages forceful conversion and also enables largest minority (Muslims) equal rights in a majority Hindu country of India. (Close to 75-25 Hindu and minority ratio)
      Hindus accept people from any religion or race to convert to Hinduism without any bias.
      All Hindus are same – no preferential treatment to people from certain countries or tribes etc.
      Caste system is not all evil as it sounds – it is a system based on ones' "trade" but has been abused mightily in past.
      It is not a multi-god religion. Only one God. There are deity's of different levels – kind of like a government.
      Hinduism is not a mythology – everything in Hindu scriptures did happen and despite centuries of efforts of invaders there are historical evidence to support Hindu scriptures.
      Contrary to popular beliefs, Hinduism is the oldest religion and India is home to the oldest civilization not Egypt.
      Hope this helps clear some doubts about Hindus.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • RS

      @Alex: Where in the world did you get THAT from? We're talking about India, a secular democracy, the largest in the world. We are not talking about some theocratic Middle-Eastern country. Get your facts straight.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • alex

      India may not be a theocracy, but the Hindu religion is still highly regarded in the country and similar to how Christianity influences the decisions of western politicians, the hindu religion is the same in India. It was just in september 2006 that the Indian government forced all school children, regardless of their religious affiliation to sing a national song called Vande Mataram celebrating a hindu goddess. Some of the other Hindu nationalist tendencies include creating red tape around the muslim and jewish rituals of slaughtering animals for food. Acts like banning muslims from slaughtering beef was one of the many reasons why pakistan split from india. India has a long track record going back prior to their independence of marginalizing non hindu followers because they feel that the other rituals are a treat to Indian culture. However realizing that these tendencies also exist in other cultures isn't the point. The conclusion of what I was saying before is that Hinduism can not be westernized because that is not what the Hindu religion represents.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Arjun

      Can you site one such law that prevents conversion? Culture and religion have close ties but still separate. For an example Muslim country Indonesia uses Hindu names for various things. Indian national song praises India as mother. It does't have anything to religion. We say mother land or father land. It is just symbolism that represent a sentiment that might have religious or cultural influence.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • alex

      India has a web of anti conversion laws in place. The most obvious one being sections 295 A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code. They stipulate that forced conversion can not occur. Which is a good thing to not have "forced" conversions, however the law has been used wrongly in the conservative states of Orissa and and Madhya Pradesh. In the court cases Reverend Stainislaus v. State of Madhya Pradesh (AIR 1977 SC 908) and Yulitha v. State of Orissa, the judge ruled religious conversions had the ability to cause public disorder and therefore the legislatures have the right to enact anti conversion laws. Conversions were there by viewed as "forced" because they cause public disorder. The anti conversion law has been on the books in India since the 1960's.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Rahul Doshi


      your analysis would be complete if you also show the numbers of the growing christians and muslims through conversion.
      Their upward curve will put to rest all your allegations.

      Do you seek an unbridled support to drive up conversion via law? Sorry, we would like to keep it secular.

      July 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Rahul Doshi

      @Frankly Speaking..

      NO reason is enough reason to kill and be violent. I repeat, NO reason.
      Don't try to find reasons why people are becoming terrorists. That is what gives them moral support.

      @Rahul Doshi

      Please read the complete sentence before you respond.. I never said its the right way to retaliate unless you are out of options and in a war. Please re-read my sentence before you respond again, I used AND between out of options and war.. Or you could be a coward and let your wives and children get murdered in cold blood..

      July 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  14. steve

    Will CNN ask he question: Can Muslims Americanize their faith? Never; it's politically incorrect to criticize Islam in any way.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • LA

      Nope, they'll Islamize America.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  15. Rose

    ( Will you die in your sins? ) ( Jesus said) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye beleive not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. John 8:24 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved. Acts 4: 12 Believe the truth & don't believe a lie and be damned for eternity in the lake of fire lost forever , no escape. Ask Jesus Chist to save you now , God loves you and wants you in the family of God.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • LA

      No thank you.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • richunix

      Still believe in that mytho's?

      “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      Atheism is not a religion nor is it a belief.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Multinationalist

      I don't believe Hindus should try to "Americanize" their faith. Would Christians "Indianize" their faith? Of course not. Those who can do nothing in this comment area except quote the bible should really do some reading about other religions. If Christianity is the "right" religion, then you have nothing to fear in learning about what other religions say. Christianity itself was born in the Mideast and spread through the world because its message speaks to people, but before you deny other religions, learn about them. You might find that their messages about how to behave, how to be a good person, and how to live your life are quite similar to Christianity. In each religion (well, most of them, anyway) there is a path to God, to enlightenment. Why someone would be so insular, so self-focused that they cannot understand that God speaks to each culture in a way they relate to really surprises me. And by the way, Buddhists do not think of Buddha as a god, and Hindi do not think of Ghandi as anything more than a good man. READ and ye shall be educated!!!

      July 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  16. Desi

    NP SAID:
    If i need help in city, I dont always go to Mayer, cause its higher chair and busy with much more responsible activity for my whole town.
    One Step Higher,
    If i need help in state, I dont always go to Governer, cause its higher chair and busy with much more responsible activity for my whole State.
    One Step Higher,
    If i need help in community, I dont always go to President, cause its higher chair and busy with much more responsible activity for my whole country.

    God is much much higher and has many responsibility for everything on and beyond earth.

    Hinduism addresses that with an expert God taking specialized responsibility. So We can easily pray them of need base and ask for quick help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Specialized god bawahahah...hey, does he have 401k included in his benefits ? health insurance or atleast obamacare ?.. Did you ever try hearing yourself ?

      July 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  17. rlhtx

    The Hindu temple in Stafford is absolutely breathtaking! We live about ten minutes from there, and it still catches my eye every time I drive past. Not only is it beautiful, but it's a great reminder of how multicultural Houston, and especially our nation, have become.

    July 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Pat Hutchison

      I fully agree.... Its a beautiful marble temple. I highly recommend a visit to those Texans who seek to broaden their horizons about the beautiful Hindu faith that has enriched America with Yoga, Meditation and the ancient motto "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (The Whole World is One Family).

      I also read that there is a similar marble temple in the greater Chicago region.

      July 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • Sharad Joshi

      Yes, the Swaminarayan Temple (BAPS Temple) in Greater Chicago is marvellous. Never seen another temple like that. The intricate carvings left me amazing.

      July 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  18. valmiki

    Visit this site on Hinduism and be enlightened.


    and read this book


    July 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  19. Frankly Speaking..

    This is amazing, so what happened to the tribe of hanuman (the flying half monkey god) ? Where are his remains or atleast the remains of his tribe that defied gravity and floated freely in space without wings ?

    If his tribe was so awesome shouldnt he have better chances of survival compared to the flightless bird dodo that became extinct just a couple of years ago. People dont think, if they did they would distance themselves from stupidity not further indulge in it

    July 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • LA

      It's all myths, to explain the power of god, there are many myths in Christianity and Islam that can't be explain. Hey, maybe things happened back then, many Chinese believe in a dragon, there is no proof, but there has to be some truth to everything if people fallow it.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • richunix

      Come to think about it, whatever happened to your half-baked ideas that someone parted any sea, turned a person into a pillar of salt or could walk on water….sound familiar to what you just said?

      July 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • Arjun

      Ramayana time period is very old. Over the time many exaggerations might be possible in keeping the records especially when books are passed down by narration when there was no written form of these books. Hindus have 2 forms of scriptures. Sruthi where content is maintained without any alteration with great care. Smrithi is where not that much care is given. So these things cant be explained.

      July 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      @ richunix

      When did I claim I believe any of it ? pre-disposition is bad ethics, it speaks volumes of the person you are dealing with.. I dont believe in maybes unless there is concrete proof that atleast fundamentals make sense and are beyond any shade of doubt. I am not trying to ridicule your religion/faith but if in a religion i have to completely shut off my logical operation its a sham.. Thats called being smart

      July 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Sharad Joshi

      @Frankly Speaking..
      Should it be a question for the 7 2 slaats in heaven? Oops, did I just utter the closest guarded secret ?

      July 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  20. Arjun

    Hindus worship many demigods for gaining various things from them. But these are not actually God but kind of administrative staff of this universe appointed by God either directly or indirectly. But Hindus these days do not read their books and do not understand what is Hinduism just like many Christians or Muslims. There are many swamiji's who speak sweeet coated words and tell you anything you feel is right.

    But truth is different. God who is supreme being incarnates in his creation not only on the earth, every where for various purposes. These incarnations are like Siva, Vishnu, Krishna, Rama etc. There is no limit for number of such forms.

    However people forgot the distinction of such incarnations with demigods and confused.

    In Islam and Christianity, you might find some angels or other figures. Worship of them is forbidden there.

    In Hinduism no such thing as forbidden thing to be worshipped. But according to the level of maturity and knowledge one worships various things. But instead of condemning anything they would say " you doing nice. But there is some thing better". In upanishads you can see this very clearly where Guru asks his disciple to find some thing better.

    The following are quotes from Bhagavadgita which is considered as the summary of all scriptures:

    Read them and you decide if it is monothestic or polythestic for your self.

    Lord Krishna says:

    Bhagavad Gita 7.7
    "O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread."

    Bhagavad Gita 7.19
    "After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare."

    Bhagavad Gita 7.20
    "Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures."

    Bhagavad Gita 7.21
    "I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity."

    Bhagavad Gita 7.22
    "Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone."

    Bhagavad Gita 7.23
    "Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet."

    Bhagavad Gita 9.23
    "Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, O son of Kunti, but they do so in a wrong way."

    July 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.